07/01/2010 – Turks Tidbits
By Todd Jones James Madison University Intern Lexington, VA- Nestled on a hillside amongst the mountain pines of Lexington, Cap’n Dick Smith Field was an ideal setting for a Turks’ win on Friday night. The Turks were at-bat first on a picturesque evening for Valley League Baseball with clear skies and temperatures topping out in the low 80’s. Three came up and three went down quickly with a groundout, pop out in foul territory and a strikeout putting the Turks on the field for their first defensive stand. It was a good thing Harrisonburg brought their life raft to Rockbridge this night, in the form of Drew Granier (La-Monroe). Granier helped the Turks keep their heads above water despite the turbulent Rapids by pitching a whole game and walking away with 10 K’s in his pocket to show for it.
Granier’s first strikeout would come in the bottom of the first followed by a spectacular double play spearheaded by right fielder Bobby Brown (Ariz.). After a long fly ball was hit Brown made a tough catch at the wall then threw a laser to 1B Austin Erb (Ashland) who got the out as the runner tried tagging up. In the top of the 2nd three Turks were struck out as Ian Dickson, a 6’5 RHP from Lafayette began warming up for what would be a great pitching display by both squads. Despite the quality pitching, the sound of Bobby Brown’s bat acted as smelling salts, awakening the scoreboard keeper in the top of the 4th. After Connor Winn (Ga. Tech) was struck out, Bobby Brown hit a single into left field and would later go on to steal 2nd base and then 3rd. After another Turk strikeout, Scott Dalrymple (Okl. City) knocked a double into left field bringing home Brown and putting the Turks on the board for the first run of the evening.
Defense was the theme in this one as the top of the 5th was again brisk for the Turks bats. Luckily this was a universal theme though as the Turk’s defense was also holding strong. The Rapids led off in the bottom of the 5th with a zinger hit straight at 1B Austin Erb who was able to make the quick grab. Granier then closed out the inning with another strikeout and a tough defensive play. As a high grounder popped up just over his head Granier used his bare hand to swat down the ball, he then scrambled for it and with his back to 1st base turned 180 degrees and fired the runner out at the bag. The 6th and 7th innings saw more of the same recurring theme of strong pitching and defense as the Turks clinched onto their one run lead.
The top of the 8th showed indecisiveness on the part of the Rapids as three pitching changes were made by Rockbridge. Terrance Jackson (Okl. City) stepped to the plate and led off with a single that turned into a double. As Jackson ran to 1st the ball was overthrown past the 1st baseman who was taking up all the real estate available on the bag. Jackson and the first baseman collided and Jackson was then allowed to advance to 2nd base due to the interference. After Erb was struck out, Tyler Carpenter (UTSA) hit a pop out to center field for the second out, which brought 2B Joe Huber (St. Joseph’s) to the plate. Huber then hit an RBI single into center field which gave Jackson safe passage home and provided the Turks with a 2-0 lead. After Connor Winn hit a single into left field and Bobby Brown was walked the bases were loaded, prompting the Rapids to make their final pitching change. Looking every bit the part of his alma mater’s mascot the ‘Mountaineer’, Marcus Broadwater (WVU), with an imposing 6’4 frame and gnarly beard walked up to the mound and closed the inning on a ground out.
The bottom of the 8th was quick work for the Turks as Bobby Brown caught a pop fly in right field and Drew Granier tallied strikeouts number 8 and 9. Stepping to the plate once more and hoping to pad their lead the Turks would be turned away in the 9th after a pop out and two Broadwater strikeouts. Knowing their defense would either exalt them to victory or be the root of their defeat Harrisonburg focused in and got the victory after a strikeout and two pop outs in the bottom of the 9th. With the win Harrisonburg retains their spot in first place atop the standings. The Turks travel to Staunton for a game Friday night but will return home to JMU Veteran’s Memorial Stadium to host the Waynesboro Generals on Saturday July 3rd at 730.